Testing for genes is now commonly being done for a variety of purposes. This is utilized in order to identify certain changes or mutations in one’s genetic make-up known as DNA. The testers particularly look at chromosomes, proteins, and genes. They look at whether a person inherited a disease. Whatever results may appear after a genetic testing can be used to verify or confirm a certain diagnosis. It can also help rule out genetic conditions suspected in an individual. Furthermore, it can determine one’s chances of passing or developing a genetic problem. At present, there are several kinds of genetic tests being developed.
The decision whether one likes to undergo genetic testing or not is solely up to the individual. Nobody is forced to go through such stressful procedure unless it is really very necessary. It is considered stressful because psychologically, one is made to think about the possible results. Even to think that one might have a genetic problem is enough to cause anxiety. Nevertheless, if one undergoes this test and finds out that the results are negative, it gives an assurance that they are healthy and that their future children will also be healthy.
Like every medical examination, there are pros and cons to genetic testing. Some of the benefits have been mentioned above. For the cons, genetic testing has its limitations. Some tests can also be unavailable or can be quite expensive. One has to therefore weigh what is more valuable to them – knowing their genetic make-up and find out about possible problems or simply let fate take its course. There are several individuals who face this dilemma and so they are given guidance by genetic counsellors who guide them through the upcoming experience and help them discover what they really want.
There are several genetic testing schemes available for every age and time. For infants, there are newborn screenings which help identify abnormalities after birth so they can be treated earlier. The tests being conducted help see whether children have PKU or phenylketonuria, a disorder that makes one unable to digest amino acids that if left untreated can cause mental retardation; and congenital hypothyroidism that causes one to have abnormal metabolic patterns. In some states, this test is compulsory and sometimes it is covered by health care programs.
There is also genetic testing that is used for diagnostic purposes. Whenever one shows signs and symptoms of a genetic disorder, this is being tested to confirm the diagnosis. If one is unable to accept the doctor’s diagnosis, this can serve as a second opinion. From these results, one can decide for himself what to do. If the condition can be corrected, treatment can start early. If not, it can be properly managed.
Genetic testing is also helpful in trying to solve crimes such as the case of forensic testing where specialists examine the DNA of the victim to find out many things about him/her, and also to find out possible suspects. It can also be used to determine biological connections.
Your genes, your blueprint
Anybody can do anything that he imagines. - Henry Ford